How this film became a classic I’ll never know!
Story By: Kim Henkel & Tobe Hooper
Directed By: Tobe Hooper
At the end of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre I was left asking myself one question, who cares? I have revisited this movie more than once over the years and every time I ask the same question when the credits roll, who cares? I don’t ask myself that question for the first twenty or so minutes of the film, because that is the only time when anything remotely interesting is happening. I will give credit to Hooper for trying something different and for creating an iconic character, but beyond the strive for something different or a single iconic character The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a shallow imitator of a horror film.
As I said, the first twenty or so minutes of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre are interesting. That time sets up the world of the film, the freakishness that is to come, the simplicity of it all and the characters we are to follow. Unfortunately Hooper doesn’t follow up on the majority of what he sets up during that opening twenty minutes. The characters never go anywhere, and I’m not even asking for deep characterization, but something to tether them to me, something to make me care at all about what happens to them.
The world Hooper sets up remains constant, it is always macabre and freaky, and this is one of the areas where the movie does excel. Set design is another, the inside of the Leatherface household does look remarkable, as do most of the assorted images we are granted of the Texas area the movie covers. This and the first twenty minutes are the only positives to be found in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
The rest of the film is mundane and predictable with not the slightest hint of suspense. If you want to see random kids enter a house, then disappear or a girl run through the movie and scream her head off to the point of annoyance then this is the film for you. Now, I understand that what I just described are present in a great number of horror films, but good horror films make you care or provide moments of suspense. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre never makes you care and it never makes you feel a moment of suspense. It also has Franklin, a character so annoying that I wanted to sock him in the jaw five seconds after he first opened his mouth.
If you want to see a good film with this premise then watch the 2003 remake, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and avoid the original if you can. One understands how to use suspense, how to make you recognize the characters in the film and care about them and how to leave you wanting more when the credits roll. That film is not the original and as I said in my by line, I will never for the life of me understand how The Texas Chain Saw Massacre became a classic!